The political party that the All Assam Students Union and AJYCP have proposed to launch before the assembly elections due next year will be in the "tight grip" of the students body, which does not want another "uncontrollable" AGP-like organisation to emerge in Assam, a top AASU leader said on Monday.
He said Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which was formed by AASU leaders, who had led a protracted movement against Bangladeshi infiltrators that culminated in the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985, had become "uncontrollable" after it came to power.
The AGP twice formed the government in the northeastern state in 1985 and 1996. "The AASU leadership is clear that the outfit will have to commit itself to the ideologies of the student wing unlike the AGP," AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi told PTI in an interview.
The AASU, which still wields considerable influence in the state despite the emergence of the BJP as a strong political force, and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) have formed an 18-member 'Assam Advisory Committee' to suggest the future course of action. "Some preliminary groundwork is being done although a final decision on the formation of the party will be taken after the committee's report. If we are advised to form apolitical front, then it cannot detach its roots from the parent body. AASU will have a tight grip over it," Gogoi said.
"To a certain extent the party will be like RSS-BJP team," he said when asked if the AASU ideology will drive the proposed party. The new political party will have to be committed to twin points — AASU-AJYCP's ideology, and the indigenous people of Assam and their issues — and it will not be allowed to function in an autocratic manner, he added.
"Our plan is to have a committee, which will be the bridge between AASU-AJYCP and the political party. This committee will have extra powers and will be able to monitor and control or suggest the activities of the government,"Gogoi said. He said the party constitution will bestow on thecommittee significant powers to guide it.
"We don't want to create a new AGP. The new party willnot be able to do anything on its own wish and it won't be anuncontrollable outfit like the AGP. The AGP became an elephantthat went mad after coming to power and it broke the chain ofcommand," he said. Elephant is the AGP's election symbol. The student leader also said that the new party willhave a number of social organisations catering to differentsections of society like women, tribals, backward classes,cultural wings, literary bodies and a research arm, amongothers.
The AASU and AJYCP leaders besides those from Akhil Gogoi's Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) have beenseparately making public statements about forming new regionalpolitical parties since the widespread protests against theCitizenship (Amendment) Act in December 2019. Lurinjyoti Gogoi said most BJP MLAs, including ChiefMinister Sarbananda Sonowal and Northeast Democratic Alliance(NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma cut their teeth in politcsin AASU. Several of AASU's past presidents and general secretaries are now BJP lawmakers.
"This has led to a huge credibility issue for AASUbecause they are doing exactly the opposite of what theirformer organisation stands for. There are many examplesranging from big dams and the issue of foreigners toenvironment. People have started questioning AASU's ideologyand its commitment to the causes it espouses," he said. "We don't want AASU to be a platform to launchsomeone's political career to grab power. That is why theplanned new party will have to be rooted in AASU-AJYCPideology," he said.
Gogoi said the proposed party will keep equal distancefrom the BJP, Congress and the AIUDF as they "betrayed thepeople". These parties, he said, are responsible for notsolving the issue of illegal infiltration.
"People don't trust the Congress as an alternative tothe BJP. The basic characteristics of the two parties are thesame. While the BJP does politics of religion, the Congress isinto linguistic politics," he said. Gogoi said the report of the committee will be outsoon, and if it so suggests, a new party will be formed and itwill try its luck at the hustings in the assembly polls duenext year.
The election to the 126-member Assam Assembly islikely in March-April of next year. The 2016 elections gave a fractured mandate and noparty has absolute majority in the current assembly.
The BJP is the single largest party with 60 MLAs,while its allies AGP and Bodo People's Front have 14 and 12lawmakers respectively. The ruling coalition also has thesupport of an Independent MLA. The opposition Congress has 23 MLAs and BadruddinAjmal's AIUDF 14.